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Shock tactics drive home road safety


Horrific images of traffic accidents and video interviews with the survivors were used to drive home key messages in a road safety awareness event held at Airbus thus week.

North Wales police officers, paramedics from the Welsh Ambulance Service and members of the North Wales Fire and Rescue service united to tell 160 Airbus apprentices about the consequences of speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and driving under the influence of drink or drugs.

The stark reality of what it is like to be involved in a serious road accident was brought home to the apprentices when they watched emergency services personnel in action at a mock crash scene in which three apprentices acted as casualties, one of whom was pronounced "dead" at the scene and placed in a body bag.

Front seat passenger Fleur O'Hagan, a second year apprentice, was given life-saving treatment by paramedics for "serious injuries" and extricated from the wreckage, which involved cutting the roof off the car.  She said, "It was a really scary experience - I never want to be in that position for real."

Ryan Taylor, a third-year apprentice, said: "We have seen some pretty graphic stuff here today.  It makes you more aware of the consequences and makes you think twice about your driving behaviour.  It's especially good for the younger apprentices who have just passed their test, but it will make me think about distances, mobile phones and seatbelt use, especially in taxis where people don't always use them.  It's really great that Airbus takes the time to put on these kinds of events."

Two first year apprentices, who are currently learning to drive, said that the event was really powerful, with one adding: "There is a lot of useful information here.  It will certainly make me think twice before getting into cars with my mates - some of them use mobiles while driving."

The Deadly Impact event was aimed at 17 - 25 year olds, who are most at risk of being involved in a crash. Statistics show that most drivers are male and most fatal casualties involve female passengers.

Apprentice training advisor Darren Collins, who arranged the event, said: ""We are delighted that the emergency services have come together to educate our apprentices, who are the most vulnerable on the roads. The more we can do to educate our young drivers the better and, hopefully, our apprentices will cascade what they have learnt to their friends. This dramatic way of reminding everyone to use a seatbelt, whether they are a driver or passenger, to keep to the speed limit and not to drink and drive, dove-tails with our Bike Safe, Drive Safe and Pass Plus campaigns.


"I've worked for Airbus for nine years and in that time have seen some of our apprentices unfortunately involved in accidents.  As an employer, we have a duty of care to young people to help them get to work safely.  Over the past 12 months we have presented this initiative to over 300 apprentices."

Acting Sergeant  Mark Jones from North Wales Police Roads Policing Unit also attended. He said: "Multi-agency road safety events have proved to be an excellent way of getting people to think about the consequences of their driving, and by working in partnership, we want to get across to young drivers messages such as the dangers of not wearing a seatbelt, driving too fast and using mobile phones.


"Today we had the opportunity to engage with young people, many of whom are only just passing their driving tests to further educate them on road safety matters."


He added: "The practical demonstrations of realistic events, coupled with presentations from all partners has hopefully brought home some of the realities and we hope that many of the young people have taken this on board."


Welsh Ambulance Service Paramedic Dermot O' Leary said: "I wholeheartedly endorse the efforts of all agencies that have been here today. Any opportunity in communicating with young people such as this is a plus."


Gareth Griffiths, Senior Fire Safety Manager for North Wales Fire and Rescue Service added:  "As a Fire and Rescue Service we attend a high number of road traffic collisions involving young people - and we are doing all that we can to educate our youngsters and drive down the number of tragedies on our roads.


"We are using every opportunity to engage with youngsters and educate them about road safety. By using visual displays as well as presentations we are hoping that they leave the events having learnt something that they will remember and use whilst driving."


In addition, PC Mike Riley who is based at Airbus arranged for the organisation Wagtail UK to give a demonstration with one of their drugs dogs.  Wagtail UK works with private organisations, the police, border agencies and customs.  They train dogs to detect drugs as well as cash, explosives, tobacco, live and dead bodies.


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